- Apple is launching a new HomePod this year at a lower price that will be compatible with non-Apple music services, according to Bloomberg.
- Lowering the HomePod’s price and expanding its compatibility with other music services would address two of the device’s biggest criticisms.
- It could also help Apple better compete with rivals like Amazon.
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Apple is planning to release a new version of its Siri-enabled HomePod smart speaker that addresses two of the biggest criticisms of the original: its price and its limited compatibility with non-Apple music services, according to Bloomberg.
The next-generation HomePod, which would mark the first new iteration of the product since the original in 2017, is said to be in Apple’s product roadmap for later this year.
In addition to a cheaper price and compatibility with third-party music services, the new HomePod would also be noticeably smaller, the report says. Specifically, the next HomePod will reportedly be half the size of the original, but will otherwise maintain a similar design.
Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Expanding the HomePod’s compatibility and lowering its price would address two of the biggest concerns critics had with the original model. The HomePod was priced at $US350 at launch, making it significantly more expensive than Amazon’s Echo lineup. Additionally, the HomePod can’t run third-party music services directly; instead, users have to AirPlay content from apps like Spotify to the HomePod.
If Apple does open the HomePod to non-Apple music services, it sounds like this capability may come to the original model as well. Bloomberg first reported that Apple was considering such a move in February, and did not specify that this would only apply to a new model.
Addressing those points could make Apple’s HomePod a more formidable competitor to rivals from Amazon, Google, and other companies. At the same time, Apple’s rivals have also made improvements when it comes to audio quality, the primary characteristic that made the original HomePod stand out in the first place.
Amazon, for example, released the Amazon Echo Studio last fall, a new version of the Echo that offers 360-degree omni-directional audio and Dolby processing. It’s Amazon’s biggest answer to Apple’s HomePod yet, and at $US200, it’s $US100 less than Apple’s $US300 HomePod.
A new HomePod is just one of several gadgets Apple reportedly has in its pipeline for this year. The company is also said to be launching four new iPhones in the fall timeframe, a new Apple TV, new iPads, refreshed MacBook Pro models, and a new iMac, according to Bloomberg.
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